No really, I'm not joking. The Atlanta Braves, who have had less than ideal past few weeks, just swept arguably the best team in baseball at the Ted over the weekend. Just to make things even better, the struggling Mike Minor was able to pull himself together on Sunday and earn himself win number five on the season. Justin Upton and Chris Johnson each nailed home-runs in the series finale, and Craig Kimbrel nailed down his 37th save of the year. After winning three-in-a-row to a serious title contender, could the Braves be looking to catch up on the Washington nationals in the NL East?
The Braves celebrated the 100th anniversary of the franchise's first World Series win on Saturday, filled with plenty of throwback themes. It seemed like most enjoyed it (unless you're Freddie Freeman) but it's still important to know a little bit more about the actual event that took place 100 years ago. The Boston Globe wrote up a detailed piece describing their miracle, comeback filled season that ended with a title.
Julio Teheran has had a great season on the mound. An 11-9 record with a 3.06 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and an All-Star selection. The 23-year-old has really taken over the role of "ace" in an injury depleted pitching staff. What you may not hear about enough is the fact that he is one of the best pitchers in the league at picking off runners at first-base. In fact, he has 13 pickoffs in the past two seasons, which is second only to Madison Bumgarner's 14. Fredi Gonzalez had some high praise for Julio's moves to first:
"Maybe the best I’ve ever seen," Gonzalez said of the right-hander’s move to first base. "You’ve seen some pretty good left-handed ones, (Andy) Pettitte, Bumgarner and those guys, but as far as a right-hander it’s pretty good."
With a three-game winning streak in the books, "hot" would be a good way to describe the Braves. A huge part of that ks due to the recent success of 25-year-old Phil Gosselin. On Friday, he belted his first career home-run while playing shortstop in replacement of Andrelton Simmons, and started at second over Tommy La Stella on Saturday and Sunday. Gonzalez says the Braves will play it by ear as to who sees more time in the lineup, but if Phil can stay hot, he could be getting the call more often.
Michael Cuddyer missed 60-games with a fractured left-shoulder, but in his first day back, he seemed to make a strong impression, hitting for the cycle against the Reds. A triple in the second, home-run in the sixth, single in the seventh, and a double in the eighth. This goes down as the seventh cycle in Rockies history, and first since Carlos Gonzalez in 2010.
Getting called out by your manager is never fun, but when he says you're not the same player you used to be? Yeah, I'll pass on that. But like it or not, Angels expensive outfielder Josh Hamilton got to endure that experience on Sunday, as his manager Mike Scioscia said that Josh isn't the same type of player he was as a perennial MVP candidate with the Rangers. On the season, Hamilton is batting .266 with eight home-runs.
Josh is not the same that we saw when we were looking at the other dugout. He’s not in the batter’s box with the confidence we know he has. He’s not attacking the ball like he can. He’s working hard to try to find it …but we need him to do what he’s capable of doing, or close to that.